Fall Landscape Maintenance

Autumn is the best time to tackle activities that will enhance your landscape now — and get it ready for next spring.

There are a few activities you can do in your yard over the next two or three months that will benefit your landscape now and help prep it for next year.

Firstly, September is the time to reapply mulch to our perennial beds and beneath our trees and shrubs, between one and two inches is a good amount. Mulch can be many products, both organic and inorganic, but for our purposes in South Texas, it is hardwood chips and shreds or pine bark chips.

Mulch has many fine attributes that bear repeating: it reduces moisture loss, soil temperature, weed competition and soil compaction, and it increases soil structure and water infiltration. But mulch’s most important attribute is the carbon energy it provides to all organisms and plants in the landscape.

If you have a lawn, there are a few tasks to tackle.

  1. Watering. Once a week is sufficient and best done at dusk or dawn. How much water to apply will vary depending on your irrigation device and amount of shade.
  2. Weed prevention. Spot treat with glyphosate or with orange oil and vinegar.
  3. Fertilization. Grass requires a lot of nitrogen but not as much as you may have heard. Add a ½ pound of slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer in mid-October and leave the clippings on the lawn throughout the year.
  4. Aeration and compost. In South Texas, core aerate every other year and apply compost every fall and spring.
Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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